Bug is 7!!!

In our last birthday of the year, Bug is 7.

Bug – you are 7. Rocking 1st grade, having and making friends, playing sports, doing competition dance, and more. You love school and all that goes with it. Learning and actions and friends and all that energy!

You are a joiner. Your activity list alone makes me tired; 3 hours of dance a week, basketball, volleyball, softball, choir, girl scouts, swimming. You love to try new things and your enthusiasm makes it very hard to say no. If it were up to you, you’d do more basketball, more crossfit, more, more, more. It’s so fun to see what you’ll try next.

When asked, you volunteered to speak at the Spanish mass to introduce “Dance in the morning”. And Bug – you did great. I don’t know if the choir leader knew you enough to know that “Dance Dance Wherever you may be” is close to your tagline or not, but it’s the right choice for you! 🙂

First grade has shown no real problems for you. You were so upset the first week of school, though. You hadn’t made any friends. When we dug a little deeper, you were upset because you had friends and were playing with them, but you think you should have made more friends. I honestly don’t know anyone else who is constantly, actively looking for opportunities to make friends. You are busting right through math and now you are an all star reader! (nice job, Bug!)

Your heart is still so kind and loving. Driving you to swimming one night, I made a comment about hating something. And you said “Momma, hate is a bad word”. And I had to pause and say, “Yes, Bug, you are right. In this case, though, I don’t hate a person.” (I think I hated the roundabout!) But later someone else used ‘hate’ about a person, and you said again, “Momma, you can’t say you hate someone. I’m trying so hard, Momma, to help people not hate”. This may be your other tagline.

Bug – you are a good, kind sister, most of the time. Although you and your sisters can get into it, you really do a nice job of congratulating them, supporting them, and generally caring about them. At Peanut’s games, you make friends with other little siblings, and you are right there to tell her that she did well. When Bits had her first soccer game, you were there to tell her she was awesome.

I’m so excited to see where we go the next year.  As Leeann Womack says “I hope you dance”! I hope you keep removing hate from this world. Daddy and I are always proud of you, and can’t wait to celebrate you! (after a full day of school, mass, and 2 hours of dance!)


Peanut is 8 today!!!

My Peanut is 8 today!!! In my ongoing effort to document their years and give them somewhere to go to see how much I love them, we’re going to talk about her.

This year, Peanut, you gained so much. Your sparkling personality, sense of humor, color is just coming to the front more and more. Your quick wit has left your dad and I in stitches more than once. One time comes to mind when you found a million dollar house on the shore, and finding out we couldn’t afford it, you told me “You need to work harder”. We still chuckle and use that quote.

When I was telling you a joke I asked you “what’s bright and colorful” and you immediately said “me”. You are right – you are bright and colorful.  I look forward to more and more one-liners, as well as you continuing to grow and gain in your confidence.

All things bright and beautiful!

All things bright and beautiful!

It’s so nice to know that your confidence is showing off outside this house as well. When your teacher sent home an email regarding you this year, she called you spunky and responsible. Man, your dad and I were so proud of that. It hints at your quick wit and ability to enjoy life, as well as your ability to understand right/wrong, and the kind of internal moral compass you’ve been growing, including your ability to work hard.


You’ve been showing us more and more of your responsibility, too. You came to us and asked us to help get you get more ready for 3rd grade math. You asked us to help you get to travel softball this fall. You’ve been trying new things like Crossfit for Kids, lacrosse, and dance team. You found some you liked more than others, but gave your all at those activities. You don’t have to like everything you try – but giving your all during the commitment is what we ask and what you deliver.


Your relationships with your sisters and parents and grandparents have been growing as well. Grandpa. specifically, called out that he really enjoyed you hanging out with him when he’s been out this year. You really showed him how well you listened to him and how much you valued your relationship. Grandma has so much fun taking you to do Grandma days because of the obvious enjoyment you get just being in her company.

You had an awesome year last year and we look forward to another awesome year with you. Please keep setting your own goals and working towards them – Mommy and Daddy will help you. Please keep living life out loud. I pray that you continue to find happiness and love and fun along with working hard. You are striking a great balance and I pray you continue to! I love you my Peanut. (Some pictures courtesy of Megan Stans of Digitialbean photography)

Bug will be 4!

This week, my middle little turns 4. In my on-going effort to document the year, their traits and my love, this particular milestone came on like gangbusters. I won’t blame this time of the year because it’s not her fault she was born 12 days before Christmas.

Bug: Your start in this world was definitely more chaotic than any of us would have hoped. It wasn’t bad, but you let us know early you were a force to be reckoned with. That’s okay. You may be a mini-whirlwind, but you also happen to have a heart the size of China.  I can’t believe you’re 4. But I also can’t remember a time when you didn’t exist.

In the last year, you’ve grown from my toddler to my big girl. You go to preschool and we never hear anything but good stuff. You are learning your letters, and numbers and working ever so hard to take the next step to reading. You are doing great with your new friends and figuring out the rules of school. You are becoming even more self-sufficient so when you let me help you, I try to enjoy it. Snuggling and cuddling you have become a highlight since you get to do it on your terms now. Imposing your will already.

You are a big sister, a little sister – a middle sister, if you want to get technical about it. I had no idea how much you would take to being the big sister. I know you have no memory of being the baby, but I’m amazed every day at the love you have for your little sister. You could teach the rest of us a thing or two about family if we’d take the time to listen to you. You would follow your big sisters to the end of the earth because you love them and admire them. If only they would realize how much you would give just for them to be happy… (Wait, on second thought, one of them would totally use that against you, so we’ll just leave that between us for now.) For now, I’ll just be content to watch and admire your demonstrations of love for us.

I’m impressed at your physical growth, too. If there were a prize for willing to try something with a smile and a giggle, you’d win that hands down. I love watching your spirit and your willingness to just keep at it. It’s not that you’re naturally athletic, you are. You figured out the batting thing super quick and hit line drives this summer. You bike like a maniac and next summer we’ll be without training wheels already. There are times your aim is better than Bert Blyleven’s. But, when you aren’t perfect the first time, you still try. And that makes me prouder than when you just naturally kick the ball through the goal on the first try. Even your Crossfit for Kids coach comments on your “not quit”. The pride in that is something I hope you keep forever.

Your emotional growth is pretty cool, too. Your patience with others. Definitely something to admire. I can’t tell you how often you would be the last one out of your activity, because you were patiently waiting for that boy to make up his mind about where to put the stamp instead of just shoving him out of the way (I’ll be honest, that would have been my inclination.)

Your smile for when I come home or just because. Your heart, your soul, your everything. I’m super proud to call you mine. I hope you will forever keep your patience for others and yourself. I hope you will continue to be the sticky glue for this family in your love for us. I love you my Bug.(Pictures in vest courtesy of Megan Stans/Digitalbean photography)

Talia preschool hair cut Raw Kiddos (6) Raw Kiddos (11) Raw Kiddos (32)

Bits’ birthday

Bits birthday

This entry is the continuation of blogging on my daughters’ birthdays so they have a living reminder of my love for them.

Two years ago, we brought in our finale. We knew going into the pregnancy this was our last one, and we had no requirements/hopes/dreams this would be a boy. We still just wanted a healthy baby. We got our caboose, our finale, our last one. A blessing, a love, and a joy.openingday

Two short years ago, we were wondering about you, hoping for healthy and strong, smart and loving. You’ve exceeded our expectations for you. Every day you bring joy to our family as a loving, free-spirited, impish individual. Your gene pool may be a dead giveaway to your sisters, but after that, you are your own person.

Your smile has brightened up so many bleak days, even when you start our days before the sun shone. Over the last 2 years we’ve seen your sense of humor come to fruition. Your joy in pranking your family and your full belly giggle make life a bit sweeter. This year you’ve learned and gained so much from walking to talking and your vocabulary is amazing. Your climbing skills are nothing short of phenomenal, you do things we’ve seen 4 year olds not even try.

My prayers for you are that you will always be ready to take on the next adventure, and never give into the fear of “I can’t”. Bits – if anyone can do it, you can. Your strength has been a source of inspiration for me so many times. Your spirit is so very strong and vital. I hope and pray that your spirit continues to make you a leader and a warrior.

Momma loved you yesterday, loves you today, and will love you tomorrow. Although I’m sad to say good bye to 1, I’m excited to see what 2 brings us. (Running picture and picture of the 3 girls taken by Megan Stans at Digitalbean Photography.)

all 3 littles Raw Kids (12) me and mommy so happy

Kiddok will be 18 tomorrow

Kiddok’s birthday

A while ago a friend lost her mom. And when she returned to work, she told me something that hasn’t left me. Give your kids something to read after you’ve gone that gives them a reminder of your love. I decided, after thinking about it that I would write them a note on the blog about them on/around their birthday every year. Hopefully, it doesn’t become embarrassing, or overly sentimental/gushy, but just a little something about their wondrous personalities. Here’s the first in that series; as always starting with the oldest.

On Wednesday, Kiddok will be that magic milestone of 18. She can vote, go to war, get a tattoo, work crazy unlimited hours, buy a lottery ticket, serve on a jury, and more. Some of these, she’s looking forward to, like voting, some not so much (working crazy unlimited hours).


In the last few years, watching you find your sweet spot of what you want to do and where you want to spend your time has been fun. Watching you shift from sports to drama has been great, although finding out you like opera was a bit funky. (And yes, forever grateful to your aunt for taking you!) In watching you choose to learn about the rest of the world and feel compassion for those in tougher places than you, inspirational. Listening to your music choices while you clean the kitchen is entertaining and enlightening. Listening to you expound on equal rights regardless of gender, orientation, religion, etc is cool. Watching you try to navigate the relationships with your sisters, amusing (betting that being 10 years older than the next is nothing short of frustrating at times). Although to give you credit, you’ve done a remarkable job bonding with your sisters, watching them at their events, reading to them, playing with them.

I know that you are looking so very forward to going to college next fall, and starting a life that you planned (the first 18 years not being necessarily your plan). I’m excited for you, too. Not so much that you won’t be around, not excited about that (and not just because you can babysit!). I am excited to see your story told as you want to tell it now.


All those things that add up to making you unique are great, and I wouldn’t change any of them. (Well maybe opera, but that’s another debate). You may find that your tastes change again, and that you still love sports (maybe after Mauer gets traded and the NFL gets it right). You may find that popular music isn’t soo bad (don’t worry, I don’t think you’ll ever become a country music listener). If you find your preferences changing, it’s all good. You’re still you at your core. Find your niche in life, but allowing it to change as you do will keep you happy. No one else is going to be as good as defining you as you are.

All that said, Kiddok – here’s what I hope you take away from this. I believe in you. I believe you are a strong, smart, capable, resilient, loving young woman. While we don’t see eye-to-eye in everything, I believe in you. I love you, and I’m blessed to know you.